A short list of games on this particular NBA night, with either close dramas or blowouts. The Cleveland Cavaliers leaned on Channing Frye and LeBron James to put away the pesky Toronto Raptors, the Chicago Bulls looked great without Rajon Rondo in a big win on the road against the Trail Blazers, while the Los Angeles Lakers got the best of D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle in a high scoring affair against the Brooklyn Nets.
Toronto Raptors 117 Cleveland Cavaliers 121: LeBron James is a talented man. He has time to feud with Phil Jackson and dominate the Raptors for the second time in a month, scoring 28 points to go with 9 rebounds and 14 assists, helping the Cavs to their best ever 10-game start. Channing Frye, with 21 points, hit the key 3-pointer to give the Cavaliers the lead late in the game, and James closed things himself. Kyrie Irving had 24 points, Kevin Love finished with 19. Kyle Lowry for a change was the scoring leader for Toronto, finishing with 28 points.
Atlanta Hawks 93 Miami Heat 90: The injured Heat had a second consecutive close call they couldn’t finish, losing at home to the Hawks, who were led by 18 points from Dennis Schroder and 15 from both Paul Millsap and Tim Hardaway Jr. Hassan Whiteside put up another huge stat line with 19 points and 25 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough.
Charlotte Hornets 115 Minnesota Timberwolves 108: The Hornets pulled away from the Timberwolves in the end, getting a big night from Frank Kaminsky of all people, scoring 20 points, showing just how much he’s improved in the offseason. Kemba Walker scored 30 points while Andrew Wiggins led the Timberwolves with 29.
Chicago Bulls 113 Portland Trail Blazers 88: No one will admit it out loud, but playing without Rajon Rondo frees up traffic in the Bulls offense, who might be better off with a less ball dominant point guard. Jerian Grant scored 18 points and had 5 steals, while Jimmy Butler finished with 27 in the most impressive win by the Bulls this season. When Lillard and McCollum shoot just 14-of-39 from the field and don’t get to the line, the Blazers don’t really stand a chance.
Brooklyn Nets 118 Los Angeles Lakers 125: A fun game between a team that’s missing its best player and another that’s finally on a path to some success. D’Angelo Russell was on fire with 7 threes and 32 points, while Julius Randle finished with a 17-14-10 triple double. Brook Lopez scored 30 points and Bojan Bogdanovic added 29 in the Nets failed effort, as they continue to sorely miss Jeremy Lin on both ends of the floor.
Eastern Conference Standings
|10||New York Knicks||4||6||.400||5.0||10|
Western Conference Standings
|1||Los Angeles Clippers||10||1||.909||–||11|
|2||Golden State Warriors||8||2||.800||1.5||10|
|3||San Antonio Spurs||8||3||.727||2.0||11|
|5||Portland Trail Blazers||7||5||.583||3.5||12|
|7||Los Angeles Lakers||7||5||.583||3.5||12|
|8||Oklahoma City Thunder||6||5||.545||4.0||11|
|15||New Orleans Pelicans||2||9||.182||8.0||11|